The New Jersey Division of Gaming Entertainment validated a number of online gambling license applications for gaming operators partnered with Atlantic City casinos. But a statement released from the DGE this week confirmed that PokerStars will not receive its license for a minimum of two years.
New Jersey officially went live with online gambling at the end of November, and quickly established itself as the largest and most important state to legalize the practice. Gaming operators rushed to partner with Atlantic City casinos, which are requirements for offering internet betting in the Garden State, and filed license application requests with the DGE.
PokerStars was one of the companies hoping to establish an online poker domain, but unlike applications for other operators, the PokerStars request was delayed until after the official New Jersey launch date. The delay led to subsequent reviews until a denial of the license was confirmed by the DGE.
In its statement, the DGE pointed the finger squarely at Isai Scheinberg for the license rejection. Scheinberg, the founder of PokerStars, remains under federal indictment with the US Justice Department, and has not returned to the US to face the charges since fleeing in 2011 following the Black Friday poker scandal.
However, the DGE did leave the window open for PokerStars to reapply prior to the two year waiting period, if “significantly changed circumstances” occur – namely, Scheinberg’s surrender to the US, and PokerStars termination of the founder’s role in the company.
“The Division, within that period, may consider a request for relief to reactivate the application if significantly changed circumstances are demonstrated at which time the Division’s investigation of PokerStars and its affiliated entities and associated individuals will be resumed to assess suitability.”
As things stand, PokerStars will be unable to fulfill its long-sought goal of reentering the US online gambling market. However, a response from the company suggested discussions with the DGE will continue.